Archive for January, 2012

Zerrion Payton – Fits like a Glove

Posted: January 18, 2012 by DeadBefore50 in Basketball
Slight of build at 6’1 155lbs Zerrion Payton works to play above his size. Given that “Zee” is listed as Northern California’s #38 2013 prospect (NorCalPreps.com) it’s clear he’s made good on the effort. Known as a “slasher” Payton fits the classic mold of “dribble-drive-penetration” Guard. Play the passing lane and he’ll burn you with an ever-improving jump shot or a variety of creative finishes. Over-play him as a scorer and he’ll absolutely find an open teammate in a good position to score. Nice combination if he’s on your side. Not so nice if you and your teammates are looking to contain Payton.
                As the nephew of Oregon St and NBA legend Gary “The Glove” Payton it’s safe to assume “Zee” has the game in his blood. The most important GP attribute Zee claims is the hard-nosed win at all cost mentality that runs throughout the Payton family and gives the opposition headaches. The “J” remains a work in progress and there is still the occasional ill-advised pass, but the general perception is Zerrion’s game is on the upswing. Currently averaging (13.5) Points, (2.2) Assists, and (2.5) Rebounds a game for the 11-5 Weston Ranch Cougars, it appears Zee is on the way to another solid season.
                Given his 6’1 frame it’s appears safe to project Payton as carrying another 15-20 in muscle without compromising the speed/agility which currently define his game. Assuming he hits the weight-room and proves capable of absorbing the more physical style of the College game I expect Zerrion to land his share of offers from Mid-Majors looking to shore up their back-court. Although often seen as quiet and somewhat reserved, Coaches and scout agree Payton carries a passion for the game and is willing to put in the work necessary to improve. My take is Zerrion belongs in an up-tempo style program in which he can exploit his court vision and scoring ability. The West Coast Conference seems like a good fit for the NorCal Guard and Santa Clara or Long Beach State would appear good fits. Bottom line, Zee is looking for a program which will allow his offensive creativity to flourish and push his overall game to new heights. In short, he’s looking for a program that “fits like a Glove”.
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Marc Rodgers – Old-school "1"

Posted: January 4, 2012 by DeadBefore50 in Basketball

YouTube and Ball Is Life have jaded us a bit. If you’re not playing above the rim or breaking ankles left and right it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. As much as ESPN loves Russell Westbrook’s highlight-reel play, at the end of the day a closer look at his game begs a question. Why is Westbrook (shooting 38%) launching (17) shots a game from the Point while Kevin Durant (the planet’s most effective scorer) is shooting (53%) and only taking  (1) additional shot per game? Bottom-line, the old-school “1”; Dennis Johnson of the 80’s Celtics and Derek Fisher of the Lakers of the 2000’s, is a dying breed. 2013 SoCal PG Marc Rodgers is here to prove that fraternity is still accepting members.
In Rodgers’ own words his game is “poised” and “all about defense and setting up teammates”. The kid’s a Junior in High school and describes his role as Point Guard as just about any D1 Coach worth his salt would want it rolled out. Marc will make the right pass, put his teammates in position to maximize their talents, and provide the occasional burst on Offense when his boys’ shots are falling. None of this jumps off the stat sheet or sends the highlight reel “viral”, but that’s the ok with true PG’s. Ask most fans about the Celtics of the 80’s and you’re going to hear all about Bird, Parrish, and McHale. Listen to Bird, Parrish, and McHale talk about those teams and you’ll hear all about Dennis Johnson. Similar can be said of the Lakers of the 2000’s. Kobe and Shaw grabbed the headlines, but the Lakers don’t grab the rings without “D-Fish”.
Already catching interest from San Diego St., UNLV, Cornell, Washington St., and UCLA, it’s clear Coaches in the know understand what a PG like Rodgers brings to the table. I don’t know that Marc will grab consistent headlines at the next level, but he brings the leadership and floor generalship to all but guarantee his team will compete. He’ll be the guy the D1 Coach looks to when it’s time slow down the game, or when it’s time to push the pace. He’ll be the guy asked to shut down the opponents’ top dribble-drive threat without absorbing unnecessary Fouls. In short, Marc Rodgers will do what it takes to insure his team is successful. Counting his parents as role models and Coach Reggie Morris as working to get Marc and his teammates “mentally stronger, individually better athletes, and as a team a contender for a CIF and State Championship”, it’s clear this kid gets it and has the support structure in place for continued success.

           Rodgers’ court awareness, precision passing, and shut down D should put him in place to log early minutes on the D1 level. My guess is as he adds bulk to his 6’2 frame he’ll be better suited to deal with increased physical play of NCAA basketball and will almost certainly establish himself as a team leader early in his College career. His teams will win games and his teammates will grab headlines, and I’m pretty sure Mark Rodgers will be just fine with that.  Don’t expect anything less from this “old-school 1”.